Establishment and role of Assessment Standards South Africa (ASSA)

An urgent need for a test certification process had arisen given the revised HPCSA mandate. A task force was convened to address this need, that is, to consider the development of assessment standards in South Africa and to provide a platform for public reviews of tests, and the certification of tests. The task force comprised representatives from South African professional societies, namely, the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA), the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology (SIOPSA) and its interest group People Assessments in Industry (PAI); the South African Association of Test Publishers (ATP); and the International Test Commission (ITC).

One of the recommendations of the task force was the formation of an independent, non-regulatory structure for developing assessment standards and certifying tests against these. This structure was constituted as the Assessment Standards South Africa (ASSA), a non-government and non-profit organisation (NPO).  ASSA aims to assist in implementing a robust, best practice and technology-enabled process that could be used to review people assessment instruments and tests. Further, based on the experience in other countries the voluntary submission of assessment instruments for objective evaluation and reviews will raise the general standard and awareness of using quality tests.

It is envisaged that this body will look at the broad spectrum of instruments that are used in South Africa and will not be limited to psychological tests only. In this way it will set the standards for the new generation of assessments.